When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field
Whether barley harvest or wheat harvest, when either of them are ripe for cutting, mowing, or reaping, and are cutting down:
and hast forgot a sheaf in the field;
Jarchi says the phrase "in the field" is to include standing corn, some of which is forgotten in cutting down, and so is subject to this law as well as a sheaf; and a sheaf claimed by this name is one that is forgotten both by the workman and the owner; if by the one and not by the other, it could not be so called. The canon runs thus F20,
``a sheaf which the workmen forget, and not the owner, or the owner forgets, and not the workman, before which the poor stand, or is covered with straw or stubble, is not a forgotten sheaf.''And about this they have various other rules;
``a sheaf that is near the gate (of a field), or to an heap (of sheaves), or to oxen, or to instruments, and left, the house of Shammai say it is not to be reckoned a forgotten sheaf; but the house of Hillell say it is;--two sheaves are reckoned forgotten, three are not; a sheaf in which there are two seahs (about a peck and a half), and they leave it, it is not reckoned forgotten F21:''thou shall not go again to fetch it;
which supposes a remembrance of it, or some intelligence about it when at home, and after the field has been cleared, and all carried in but this sheaf; then the owner might not go nor send to fetch it: the beginnings of the rows, they say, show when a sheaf is forgotten, or not; particularly the adverse sheaf, or that over against it, shows it F23; so Jarchi:
it shall be for the stranger;
or proselyte; the proselyte of righteousness; of this there is no doubt, but it seems to be for the proselyte of the gate also:
for the fatherless and for the widow;
which of them soever should first find it:
that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands;
in the culture of their ground the next year, and give them large and fruitful crops; they either purposely leaving the sheaf for the poor, or however suffer them to take it unmolested when found by them. The Targum of Jonathan is, "that the word of the Lord thy God may bless thee"
F20 Misn. Peah, c. 5. sect. 7.
F21 Misn. Peah, c. 6. sect. 2, 5, 6.
F23 Ib. sect. 3, 4.